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New Teacher

I agree with all you said. I am having difficulty accepting what my school wants me to do in regards to teaching to the MAP test. I dislike assigning students a number, level, and then demanding they read so many books per grading period "in their level", and then provide a written response. The students are not motivated and feel like they are being forced to read. No one likes being forced to do anything.

Mandy Flaherty

Mr. Fredrick, in light of your critique, what are you doing to help your students navigate through a world in which they will continuously face tests as hurdles they must surmount in order to gain greater levels of education and independence?

You assert that tests "are an inappropriate assessment tool. Period." With all due respect – as one who claims the privilege of being educated at a “well-respected School of Education” – your assertion that tests are universally inappropriate rings a bit hollow for me. Undoubtedly you were required to succeed on various tests in high school in order to progress to the school of education you referenced and certainly you were forced to endure some assessment of your skills and aptitude throughout your training in education. Clearly, you navigated successfully through those assessments. The point is, regardless of how inappropriate any given test is, the reality is that students – including you and I – relied on our ability to tackle tests in order to have the opportunities we have today. It is easy, with those opportunities in hand, to turn to our students and dismiss the tests as imprecise evaluations of intelligence and skill, because clearly they are just that. But, this position is a monumental disservice to the students whose futures will be compromised by our refusal to arm them with the tools they need to engage life’s challenges. Greene and Melton – although repeatedly underscoring the endemic deficiencies in standardized tests, especially in the English-learning population they serve – are committed to equipping their students with the substantive skills and confidence they need to surmount hurdles threatening to bar their success, regardless of how inappropriately crafted those obstacles may be. I urge you to do the same.

Shawna Rogers

I understand the basis of Mr. Frederick's argument of teaching to (with) the test, I must completely agree with Ms. Flaherty's comments. Having implemented the premise of Test Talk in my 3rd through 5th grade classrooms (13 classes in all), I can see the value of incorporating specific test strategies into our reading block. I am very careful to encourage my teachers to integrate these strategies and skills throughout their teaching so that it is not simply teach to the test skills. Test taking is and always will be a life-skill. To ignore this fact will do a disservice to our students. We must contiunue to analyze why and what we are testing students in order to improve these assessments for ALL students.

Sal Monte

Teaching to the test prohibits teachers from exploring new and exciting topics in many subjects. Our scheduling needs to be so regimented that we take the ability for students to delve deep into the curriculum out of the learning experience. I am a global history teacher in NY, and I can only spend 1 day on 9/11 because that is all the time I have for it! It is absurd. I would assume that many NY teachers agree with me. There should be disctrict tests. Not NY state tests.


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